- Unilever's virtual store The Ice Cream Shop on Tuesday launched the "Ice Cream Exchange" in partnership with "The Office" actress Angela Kinsey, per a company press release.
- Consumers who visit IceCreamExchange.com and enter a description of a disappointing holiday gift will see a video of Kinsey and receive a coupon code that can be used on Uber Eats, Postmates or DoorDash via retailers including 7-Eleven, Walgreens and The Ice Cream Shop that is good towards the purchase of Unilever's ice cream brands like Talenti, Magnum and Ben & Jerry's.
- The Ice Cream Exchange could boost Unilever's various brands by partnering with popular delivery apps that may see increased usage this winter during the pandemic and while bringing people together online as they share about their bad gift experiences.
Unilever's campaign is a creative way to encourage people to order ice cream for delivery, especially amid the colder winter season and the continuing pandemic that likely will keep consumers housebound for the foreseeable few months. In a year when holiday traditions are being upended by the health crisis, the Unilever effort takes a playful approach to addressing disappointing presents —something most people can relate to — like "an obvious re-gift or itchy sweater," according to the press release.
While hinging on partnerships with several retailers and delivery apps, the campaign could be a boon for The Ice Cream Shop, Unilever's ghost kitchen-like virtual store that uses freezers in places like gas stations and convenience stores and is available in over 1,500 locations across the U.S. For Unilever, at-home ice cream sales have been a bright spot as the pandemic continues to change consumer behaviors around dining and snacking.
Orders through The Ice Cream Shop also generate first-party data about consumers, which has increasingly become a priority for CPG brands amid stricter consumer privacy laws and limitations around audience tracking. Brands including Kraft Heinz's Planters and Mondelez International's Sour Patch Kids have opened online shops to build one-to-one relationships with consumers while gathering information that can be used to tailor or target marketing efforts.
To drive additional interest in the "Ice Cream Exchange" website, Unilever has teamed with a key character of "The Office." The CPG is the latest marketer to tap into continued interest around the show, which went off the air in 2013 but has remained popular on streaming services. Heineken in 2019 enlisted Kinsey and actor Brian Baumgartner to star in a new campaign promoting an alcohol-free beer called Heineken 0.0, while Phyllis Smith has inked deals with craft retailer Joann and restaurant chain Panera for "Office"-related efforts.